Day 33 & 34
One of the places that I wanted to visit during my time in Vallarta was Islas Marietas. We went to a travel agent to book a tour. Since it is a national park, only guided tours are allowed to enter. We only got a place for the following day so we decided to go to the beach. We asked the agent for some recommendations. She suggested that we take a bus to Boca de Tomatlan. She suggested this location because it has salty/ocean water, fresh water, and also mountains in the background. It took us forever to find the bus station but once there we got on the bus and we were off. On the way there we met up with two wonderful Mexicans on the bus named Gerardo, and Monserrat. They had found a very lovely beach on the internet and it was just an additional 20 minutes walk from the bus stop. They invited us so we decided to go with them to this famous Colomitas beach. In reality, the 20 minute walk turned out to be a 40 minute intensive hike, but once we arrived was it ever worth it. The trek through the Mexican jungle in 40 degree heat was not very pleasant but certainly an experience to arrive at the beach.
We spend the whole day together with our new Mexican friends enjoying the lovely beach. During our conversations I discovered that the majority of Mexicans do not know how to swim, which I found very interesting. I could not believe it. They said that this was because the majority of Mexican live in the largest cities away from the water so they enjoy the water by floating. For the way back, we arranged with a boat taxi to take us back to the bus stop so we did not have to repeat our trek through the mountains. Upon our return to Vallarta, our new friends took us on a guided tour of the down town of Vallarta, which I really appreciated. For the evening, we just had some tacos al pastor. We had originally planned to go out dancing but, I was dead tired from our adventure.
The next day we had to get up super early to arrived at the marina for the boat trip. It was lovely. It ended up being a snorkelling tour, which our lovely travel agent forgot to mention. ;P After this trip I came to the definite conclusion that I don't prefer snorkelling and that it gives me major motion sickness. On the much more positive side, Islas Marietas is beautiful. It is a natural donut shaped rock formation with vegetation on top and water coming in from the bottom.
This was the lovely couple that we met on the boat tour:
When we got back to Vallarta, we stopped to grab a bite to eat before catching our bus back to Guadalajara. My host mother recommended a place called the 8 Tostadas. We had lunch there because it was really close to the marina. Then we went to the bus station. We were supposed to arrived back in Guadalajara at 7:45pm, which would have given me a bit more time to spend with my host family, and also to pack my luggage. The bus was late because there was traffic getting into Guadalajara so I ended getting home after 10pm. I packed my bags, said goodbye to my host family, and got to bed at midnight, only to get up 3 hours later to be driven to the airport. Everything worked out in the end. My flight home was a better experience with United Airlines than my flight upon arrival. Going out of Mexico I got flagged (and I was the only one on my flight) for drug testing. I knew exactly what she was doing because I occasionally have seen the show Border Security with my father. Evidently, she did not find anything and I was free to go.
All in all, a lovely ending to my first but definitely not the last Mexican adventure!
Bye bye Mexico!